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January 1, 2018 - TCO

Commit to Fit: Sheila’s weight-loss journey

Weight has been an ever-present struggle in Sheila Rydeen’s life, a challenge made more difficult after a career change and double knee replacement.

In 2014, Sheila left an active retail job – where she frequently walked and climbed stairs – for one that found her desk-bound. She was in pain, stopped walking and barely could make it through her shifts near the end. It was then that Sheila decided to have her knees done at Twin Cities Orthopedics.

After continuing to struggle with weight loss for two more years, Sheila, who likes competition, registered for the inaugural Commit to Fit (CTF) weight-loss challenge to kick off 2017. She joined the TCO family around the same time, too, working as a patient services representative in Lake Elmo. Since then she has lost 50 pounds.

Sheila attended the initial CTF weigh-in and workout and worked with TCO physical therapist Dan Stark, PT, DPT. Working out in Stark’s class left Sheila feeling inspired and motivated to stay on track.

“I was never a person to work out. I had never been to a gym,” she said. “I went to the workout sessions that Dan offered and loved them. He just made it comfortable. This is something I can do. I love the weekly tips and workout sessions.”

More than just exercise

In addition to workouts, CTF offers support with weekly fitness recommendations, including exercises at your desk; strength and conditioning tips; nutrition guidance; and the best approach for working out at a gym.

Sheila made exercise a priority and felt welcome at every CTF workout, which offers modifications to fit all participants’ abilities whether they work out as individuals or groups. She completed the workouts, registered for the second Commit to Fit in May, attended TCO’s Boot Camp class and even joined a local gym. Sheila also started planning and preparing her meals in advance, three days at a time.

“Sheila has been a rock star. She was super-motivated from day one working in the program,” Stark said. “She keeps going and has really impressed me with her progress.”

With workouts and meals clicking, it was time for Sheila to increase her walking. She signed up for the Twin Cities Orthopedics Women Run the Cities 5K with the thought that training would get her walking regularly again. She began training a few blocks at a time, increasing her distance every other day until she was walking 3 miles daily. From there, she tried to increase her speed.

“My goal was to walk the 5K in less than 50 minutes,” she said. Her time at that 5K in September? “I walked my first 5K in less than 50 minutes!”

Sheila and Commit to Fit
Before (left) and after

Time for a change

CTF is what Sheila credits with getting her on her current track. She has learned to push herself and been able to see how much more she can do each week with the strength she has gained. Exercise is a time commitment, sure, she said, but her health is important.

“It does take a lot of time, but I decided it’s something I have to do,” Sheila said. “And I’m worth it.”

A cool part about the program is anyone can do it, Stark said. TCO’s sports performance team wanted to establish CTF to give provide the community another option for weight loss and management.

“People are in the program because they want to make a change,” Stark said. “We’re here for you, for whatever you need.”

Sign up for Commit to Fit

TCO’s Commit to Fit weight-loss and fitness challenges are free and open to the public. The first session of the year begins Wednesday in Maple Grove, Thursday in Burnsville, Jan. 8 in Woodbury and Jan. 9 in Eden Prairie. Each session is less than two months and includes a midway check-in and final weigh-in.

To register or find out more, send your name, email address, phone number and the location you are interested in participating to TCO strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer Ryan Schlinger at

“Commit to Fit really does fit any person’s ability,” Sheila said. “Just try it because you can do it.”